Amazing Fire Dance
Incredible dancing fith the fire, dangerous but so beautiful!
Fire dancing (also known as “fire twirling,” “fire spinning,” “fire performance,” or “fire manipulation”) is a group of performance arts or disciplines that involve manipulation of objects on fire. Typically these objects have one or more bundles of wicking, which are soaked in fuel and ignited.
Some of these disciplines are related to juggling or baton twirling (both forms of object manipulation), and there is also an affinity between fire dancing and rhythmic gymnastics. Firedancing is often performed to music. Fire dancing has been a traditional part of cultures from around the world, and modern fire performance often includes visual and stylistic elements from many traditions.
The various tools used by the fire performance community borrow from a variety of sources. many have martial sources like swords, staves, poi, and whips, where some seem specifically designed for the fire community. The use of these tools are limited only by the imaginations of their users. Some tools lend themselves to rhythmic swinging and twirling, others to martial kata, and others to more subtle use. Some common tools are:
# Poi – A pair of roughly arm-length chains with handles attached to one end, and bundle of wicking material on the other.
# Staff – A rod of wood or metal, with wicking material applied to one, or both ends. Staves are generally used in pairs or individually, though many performers are now experimenting with three or more staves.
# Fire hoop – hoop with spokes and wicking material attached.
# Fans – A large metal fan with one or more wicks attached to the edges.
# Fire umbrella – an umbrella that has the cloth removed, with kevlar tips.
# Fire meteor – A long length of chain or rope with wicks, or small bowls of liquid fuel, attached to both ends.
# Nunchaku – Nunchaku with wicking material, usually at either end.
# Fire stick – Like a traditional devil stick, with wicks on both ends of the center stick.
# Torch – A short club or torch, with a wick on one end, and swung like Indian clubs or tossed end-over-end like juggling clubs.
# Fire-knives – Short staves with blades attached to the ends and wicking material applied to the blade. Fireknives are the traditional Polynesian fire implement and have been in use since the 1940s.
# Fire rope dart – A wick, sometimes wrapped around a steel spike, at the end of a rope or chain ranging from 6–15 feet long, with a ring or other handle on the opposite end.
# Fire sword – either a real sword modified for fire, or one specifically built for the purpose of fire shows.
# Chi ball/Fire orb – 2 rings or handles with a wick attached between them by a thin wire.
# Finger wands – Short torches attached to individual fingers.
# Palm torches – Small torches with a flat base meant to be held upright in the palm of the hand.
# Fire whips – Lengths of braided aramid fiber tapered to make a bullwhip, usually with a metal handle about 12 inches long.
# Jumblymambas – a triple ended fire object for juggling, twirling and manipulation
# Fire cannons – a propane flame effect device; larger ones can shoot a pillar of fire up to 200+ feet in the air, although they usually are mounted to a base or vehicle.
# Fire poofers – Similar to fire cannons, but much smaller and made to be held, with fuel stored in a “backpack” fashioned of one or more propane tanks.
# Fire Balls – Specially constructed juggling balls, either solid balls dipped in fuel and juggled with protective gloves, or ones designed to contain the flame in the center of the ball.
The variety of available tools took a sharp swing upwards in 2000, and as the numbers of dedicated fire tool makers increase, many makers add their own ingenuity to the art and expand the performance potential even more. Frequently, new tools appear from home tinkering and enter the public domain after a few performances.
Materials and construction
The typical construction of fire performance tools involves a metallic structure with wicking material made from fiberglass, cotton, or Kevlar blended with fiberglass, Nomex, and other poly-aramids. Kevlar-blend wicks are the most common, and are considered standard equipment in modern fire performance. Though most wick suppliers refer to their wick simply as Kevlar, almost no suppliers sell a 100% Kevlar wick, which is both expensive and not particularly absorbent. Most serious contemporary performers avoid cotton and other natural materials because such wicks disintegrate after relatively few uses, and can come apart during use, showering the performer and audience with flaming debris.
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